What is the use of a prime ?


Algernon

Link Posted 14/04/2012 - 08:33
Jay Maisel seems to manage OK with a ZOOM!

link

-
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

MartynUK

Link Posted 14/04/2012 - 10:30
petrochemist wrote:
MartynUK wrote:
One thing that hasn't been mentioned with zooms is that we tend to forget about the effect on perspective that different focal length lenses have -

I think people generally (me included!) tend to use a zoom to frame compose the shot they want from where they're standing - rather than think about whether they should zoom out and move closer or zoom in and move further away. I've got a very old Kodak book that shows some great examples of the effect of different focal lengths and it does make quite a difference.

Of course, I agree that for some subjects you don't have time to move and any shot is a good one!!

Martyn

There is NO difference is perspective from the focal length of the lens. The change in perspective is from the position of the camera. Changing focal length will encorage a change in position.

If you crop the view from a wide angle to match the FOV of a telephoto taken from the same spot you'll see the perspective is identcal.

Of course, you're right - that's really what I meant. But I bet a lot of people don't think about whether they should move themselves, rather than zoom in or out when taking the picture - and I suppose the same applies to fixed and zoom lenses - change focal length or position.
Martyn

http://www.flickr.com/photos/northamptonshirecouk/

Mandrake

Link Posted 19/04/2012 - 23:23
As others have said, the trade off in zooms v primes is one of quality and speed vs. flexibility, but it's worth remembering that it's not a simple choice of one or the other.

Some zooms give very good quality but are only slightly more flexible than primes, e.g. my new Sigma 10-20 which I have started to treat as a 10mm with a fall back option of 20mm for when I want a quick shot that isn't crazy-wide, while others are extremely flexible but not as good quality as more limited zooms or primes, e.g. a 55-300 vs 50-135.

I remember reading/hearing somewhere that a lot of good photographers will tend to only use specific settings on a zoom, in effect treating them as a convenient pack of primes. I'd like to say I do that, but I tend to lack the required level of forward planning
Simon

My online scrapbook: http://smxc.co.uk

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 20/04/2012 - 10:19
I remember in art classes we used to do experiments such as drawing with our left hand, drawing without looking at the paper, etc. The purpose of these excercises was to force us out of 'habits' and draw in a new way. Using a prime can be a bit like that - you know, going out with one lens and being constrained by that focal length. Shooting portraits with a wide angle, landscapes with a 135mm etc. It takes you out of the 'get the shot at all costs' mentality and is enjoyable to adapt your shooting style to the focal length you are working with - occasionally you come back with an unusual shot you would missed otherwise.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

Horst

Link Posted 10/07/2012 - 07:26
Since I am not a professional, My requirements are somewhat differing.

I use A zoom lens, when I go out with my wife and like to do some photographing at the same time. I feel somewhat rushed.
The little woman doesn't seem to appreciate it, when I spend half an hour trying to compose and fiddle around to take one picture. Things need to go a bit faster.
My favourite for this is the FA35-70 Lens

However when I go alone. I take a tripod and only Prime lenses.
I can then change the lenses to my requirement and take all the time I like. Also the large opening of the primes are often an advantage. Specially if I like to have a low DOF. while I am actally walking a fit the DA 40mm f2.8. This one seems to do a good all round job if something comes up quickly.

When I photograph my grandchildren, I use my FA50mm f1.4 for its low DOF
and equivalent of 75mm focal length.
I like to use the 85mm f2 or f1.8 for this, But I haven't got one. Its out of my price range at the moment.

Horst
Last Edited by Horst on 10/07/2012 - 07:27

Don

Link Posted 10/07/2012 - 13:09
is it my imagination or is there a number of pentax primes over tha years that have focal lengths that are also prime numbers?

Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

dcweather

Link Posted 10/07/2012 - 13:29
With a prime you have to physically move...

------------------
I think for wildlife photography there will be pros and cons. The above being one of the cons.
Dave

Horst

Link Posted 10/07/2012 - 13:49
Very true,
but this makes it often more interesting and more satisfying than just standing on the spot and zooming forwards and backwards.
Then again, a good shot is always satisfying, no matter what
type of lens one uses.

Horst
Last Edited by Horst on 10/07/2012 - 13:51

Smeggypants

Link Posted 10/07/2012 - 23:36
You have to physically move with a zoom too.


Interestingly analysing my photos, I find that 90% of the pics I take with zooms are at either extremes. So in effect I'm simply attaching 2 primes to my camera.
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283

gunner

Link Posted 16/07/2012 - 09:22
As I develop my photography skills I actually find myself more drawn to good quality zooms.

Sometimes you simply don't have the luxury of being able to 'move your feet' and a prime can be quite limiting.

Of course, given enough time, space and opportunity a prime will deliver the goods.

Smeggypants

Link Posted 16/07/2012 - 09:50
Mandrake wrote:


I remember reading/hearing somewhere that a lot of good photographers will tend to only use specific settings on a zoom, in effect treating them as a convenient pack of primes. I'd like to say I do that, but I tend to lack the required level of forward planning

I don't place any claims on the quality of my photography. I do it for fun and like to share the pics. If others get enjoyment from them then great

but as said I do tend to use Zooms more or less as two primes. At the near and far extremes of their focal length.
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283

Darkmunk

Link Posted 16/07/2012 - 11:13
My most used lens is a prime - DFA 100mm. Not because it's a macro, but because the quality is stunning.
I use if for bugs, portraits and fast-moving pets; in all areas, it excels. Blisteringly sharp, beautiful bockeh, making the 55-300 almost redundant as an outdoor portrait lens.
My second most used lens is the FA 50 1:4 for sharpness, speed (f1:4) and optical quality (sharpness and DOF).
I have zooms from fisheye to 55-300 and the wide variants get used regularly, but as above, generally at their extremes and always with the knowledge that the images will need a little work.
Facebook Page
Plymouth Photographer

Tord

Link Posted 16/07/2012 - 11:49
For longer focal lenses zooms are usually much cheaper, and more useful, as it makes aiming your lens so much easier. If you need fast lenses, say f2.8, with a long focal length, say over 200mm, you have to be very well financed to buy any kind of lens, zoom, or prime.

So I use a mix of primes, and zooms, with my cameras, both when using the K-5, the K-x, and my Nikon V1. With my NEX-5N I use only primes, none of them labeled 'Sony', as the selection of lenses is poor compared to other camera systems.
Tord S Eriksson, MA
Pen & Ink man, ex-editor-in-chief, 'Ad Hoc is my middle name', RiscOS User, paddler, amateur bird watcher, aeronautics buff, Anglofile, Honorary memner of PAN, the world's oldest photo club. Married to Ann-Christine Mathiasson, who knows her way round a darkroom!

Tord

Link Posted 16/07/2012 - 12:05
Don wrote:
is it my imagination or is there a number of pentax primes over tha years that have focal lengths that are also prime numbers?

The only ones I can remember is 31 and 43 ...
Tord S Eriksson, MA
Pen & Ink man, ex-editor-in-chief, 'Ad Hoc is my middle name', RiscOS User, paddler, amateur bird watcher, aeronautics buff, Anglofile, Honorary memner of PAN, the world's oldest photo club. Married to Ann-Christine Mathiasson, who knows her way round a darkroom!

simonkit

Link Posted 16/07/2012 - 13:21
Interesting debate as usual, my thoughts...

I think the optical quality advantange that primes supposedly offer over zoom lenses is becoming less and less significant. It seems most of the Pentax DA primes are matched by at least one of the DA zooms when it comes to sharpness at most focal lengths with perhaps the exception of wide open although having owned the DA15mm briefly it did offer more impressive contrast/colour, I couldn't live with it's extremely soft corners though.

The main advantage I feel that primes now offer is one of size, easily dropped in a pocket etc with perhaps the likelhood that you're more likely to have it with you.

An advantage of zooms not often mentioned, which I find really useful, is their ability to compress perspective between objects...I'm suprised how often this improves landscape photographs

Simon
My website http://www.landscapephotographyuk.com

My Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/landscapephotographyuk

Find me on Google+ link
Last Edited by simonkit on 16/07/2012 - 13:22
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.